Black Americans are the most likely to hold multiple jobs (though both Black and White women tied with the highest rate when the data was divided by gender). More Black Americans live in non-urban areas, and the majority of Black Americans have had some college education. Most (80 percent) are Democrats, and most have a love of music (with nearly all listening to the radio on a weekly basis). Black people are more likely to care about their appearance and consider it to be an expression of status. Racism remains a top issue for Black Americans, but it is overshadowed by affordable housing and affordable healthcare. Iconic Black people who have made waves recently include Nikole Hannah-Jones, who started the 1619 Project (which now reaches 4,500 schools) and WNBA star Maya Moore (who helped to free a wrongfully imprisoned man). Black women made a significant stand in Washington, D.C. on behalf of Ilhan Omar and Muslims facing the increasing rise of Islamophobia. Full details can be found below.
Population Size and Spending Power
- Of the 328,239,523 people living in the United States as of July 1, 2019, 13.4 percent were listed as identifying as Black only, according to the U.S. census. This equates to ~43,984,096 people (328,239,523 x 13.4% = ~43,984,096). Nielsen estimates the number of those who identify as Black (including those with mixed heritage) at 48 million.
- For comparison, 76.3 percent of the country is White, 18.5 percent is Hispanic, and 5.9 percent is Asian.
- As a percent of the population, the number of Black people in the country (15 percent in 2017) has not been this high since 1850. The population (47,411,470 in 2017) has increased significantly since the start of the millennium (36,419,434).
- While the population of all races has grown, the percentage of Whites has decreased over time (particularly for those under 16). Mixed races, Asians, and Hispanics have all increased as a percent of overall population and those under 16, while Blacks have increased as a percent of the overall population but slightly declined in the share of those under 16.
- A report from Catalyst shares that Black people have $1.4 trillion buying power, compared to $13.2 trillion for White people, $1.7 trillion for Hispanics, $1.2 trillion for Asians, $253.9 billion for multiracial individuals, and $126.8 billion for American Indians.
- Black spending power has increased steadily over time. In 2010, Black spending power was $961 billion. From 2000 through 2018, it has increased 114 percent. From 2010-2019, it increased 48.1 percent.
- White spending power increased by 39.5 percent from 2010-2019; Asian spending power increased by 89.5 percent from 2010-2019; and Hispanic spending power increased 69.1 percent from 2010-2019.
- The increase in buying power is attributed to more black-owned businesses, more educational attainment, and increased population growth.
- Black population growth from 2000-2018 was 22.7 percent, compared to the national average of 16.3 percent.
- Black Americans are younger than White Americans, which reduces their buying power; however, as they hit their peak earning years, Black buying power will increase substantially in line with the population increase.
- Age: Of the 48 million Blacks identified by Nielsen, almost 25 million are Millennial aged or younger.
- Age: Black Americans have a median age of 32, according to Nielsen (compared to a median age of 43 for White people in the U.S.).
- Age: The most common age for Black Americans is 27, while the most common age for White people in America is 58.
- Median income: Median household income is the lowest for Black families ($40,258), compared to $50,486 for Hispanics, $68,145 for Whites, and $81,331 for Asians.
- Household composition: Blacks are the least likely to have an employed family member (at 79 percent of households), meaning they were most likely to have single-income homes.
- Household composition: Households led by single women are most likely to be Black (42 percent), compared to 25 percent Hispanic, 15 percent White, and 12 percent Asian. In households with children under 18, Black mothers were most likely to be working (77.2 percent), compared to 71.2 percent of Whites, 65 percent of Asians, and 63.9 percent of Hispanics.
- Location: A majority of Black Americans live in non-urban areas, including suburbs (30 percent), small towns, or rural areas (20 percent combined) while the remainder live in cities. The highest representation of Blacks by county is in the Southeast portion of the United States, with bands extending from the East Coast of Texas up to Southern New England.
- Education: 22 percent of Black Americans have a four-year college degree or more, while another 37 percent have some college education (but less than a four-year degree).
- Employment: One in five Black Americans who have a job work at least one additional job. Black Americans have the highest rate of holding multiple jobs at 5.5 percent (compared to 5.1 percent for Whites, 3.7 percent for Hispanics, and 3.3 percent for Asians). Between the genders, Black and White women share the highest rate at 5.7 percent, compared to 5.3 percent for Black men and 4.7 percent for White men.
- Employment: 58 percent of Black Americans are employed, representing 12.6 percent of the labor force in 2016. The largest percentage (31 percent) of employed Blacks work in management or professional roles. In the management and professional field, Blacks had the second-lowest representation (next to Hispanics), while in the sales, service, and production and transportation industries, Blacks were tied for first.
- Interest: Black people highly value music and listen to the radio for music and popular culture updates frequently. 92 percent of Black adults listen to the radio on a weekly basis.
- Hobby: Black Americans are much more likely to enjoy going to physical stores to shop as an activity, with 52 percent finding it relaxing (compared to 26 percent of the U.S. population as a whole).
- Status and ambitious drive: Black women are notably much more ambitious than White women and White men, with 80 percent of Black women aspiring for promotions (compared to 68 percent of White women and 75 percent of all men). 38 percent of Black women want to be a top executive (compared to 29 percent of White women).
- Family: Black people have very strong family values stemming from the mid-20th century when it was common for Blacks to establish large, multi-generational households to better support themselves and their goals. While families are less likely to be as large now, family values continue to be of the highest importance to many Black Americans based on how it represents strength, solidarity, and security.
- Attitudes: More Black Americans feel their lives have gotten worse financially over the past two years, with women feeling so at an even greater rate than men.
- Values: Physical appearance is important to the Black community, with Blacks spending more than other races or ethnicities on personal soap and beauty needs (by a rate of 19 percent). Compared to the rest of the population, Blacks are 20 percent more likely to express that they will pay more for an item that “is consistent with the image I want to convey.”
- Values: Black Americans are passionate about brands that support social causes. 42 percent expect it, compared to 26 percent of the total population.
- Values: Blacks are more likely to care about antibiotic use than the general population (by a rate of 20 percent) and more likely to be concerned about artificial ingredients (by 19 percent).
- Religion: One third of Black Americans go to church on a weekly basis. However, views on religion are changing. A majority of Black college graduates reject that people must believe in God to have good morals, while those over 55 believe that belief in God is necessary for good morals by a 54 point difference.
- Religion: Religion continues to be a significant part of life for Black Millennials. 64 percent of Black Millennials are “highly religious”, compared to 39 percent of non-Black Millennials, as this chart further illustrates:
- Cross-culture orientation: Black Americans tend to adhere to their individual ethnic and mainstream cultural identities, creating their personal identity from a healthy mixture of the two. Blacks with mixed racial backgrounds are more open to exploring different cultures.
- Creativity: While it utilizes older data, a 2006 meta-analysis found that in the few instances where differences were found between Blacks and Whites, Blacks in Georgia scored higher in fluency, flexibility and originality and found that Blacks tended to see themselves as more creative. A 2020 Forbes article describes the creativity of Black business owners as being a necessity for their success in many cases and describes creativity and innovation as an essential part of their continued culture.
- Adherence to gender roles: As part of a mid-20th century adaption that saw more Blacks entering the workforce, Black families saw frequently blurred gender roles as Black women became breadwinners and Black men became caregivers.
- Political identification: Most Black Americans are Democrats. 46 percent of Black Americans identify as strong Democrats while an additional 34 percent identify as weak Democrats.
- Political values: Ideologically speaking, 35 percent of Black people identify most with liberal or progressive values, while 31 percent are moderate. Only 17 percent are conservative.
- The biggest issue for Black Americans is affordable housing, with 68 percent saying that if housing was affordable it would benefit them “a great deal”.
- Reducing racism and lowering the cost of healthcare are immediately behind affordable housing as top concerns, with 67 percent of respondents saying it would help them “a great deal”.
- Racism has had more awareness and more expression in recent years, prompting its rise as a primary concern. The chart below illustrates this:
- Older Black Americans are more likely to perceive increased racism in the U.S. than their younger counterparts.
- There is a difference in top priorities between the genders, with women identifying affordable housing as the first priority and men identifying healthcare costs.
- Improving the quality of water and air, making education affordable, and creating more higher paying jobs are all leading issues identified as most important by 66 percent of Black Americans.
- Of the top-identified issues, being able to make ends meet was identified as a top concern by 65 percent of Black Americans.
- Gentrification is a concern that is frequently brought up in Black focus groups (including 9 out of 9 polled for a 2020 study). Black people in suburbs feel that gentrification has been harmful rather than helpful by a difference of 16 percent, while Black people living in cities see it as more harmful by a difference of just four percent.
- For weak Democrats (leaning Independent), the top priority is college affordability, while college graduates identify water and air quality as the top priority.
- Of 17 priority issues, issues that are frequently thought to be top issues for the Black community by White people such as criminal justice reform (57 percent), strengthening gun laws (55 percent), and voting rights (47 percent) are at the bottom of the list.
Nikole Hannah-Jones and the Start of the 1619 Project
- New York Times Magazine journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones was awarded with the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for starting the 1619 Project in August 2019 in a climate of intense racial division across the nation.
- The 1619 Project has a goal of “placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative” 400 years after slavery began in the United States.
- The Pulitzer Center recognized the importance of Hannah-Jones’s ongoing work and became an official education partner for the project. As a result, an entire curriculum was developed based on the project, and 4,500 schools around the country now teach it in a widespread effort to improve understanding between Blacks and Whites.
- Hannah-Jones was recognized as 1st on Root’s list of the top 100 African Americans of 2020.
Maya Moore Helps to Free Jonathan Irons From Wrongful Imprisonment
- One of the WNBA’s most skilled players, Maya Moore took two straight seasons off from her career with the Minnesota Lynx to study law with the sole intention of advocating for Jonathan Irons.
- Irons was imprisoned for a 50-year term for burglary and assault, with a complete lack of forensic evidence utilized in the trial.
- Moore met Irons during a prison ministry visit and became impassioned with the need to free him. By subsequently forfeiting the two seasons with the Lynx, four-time WNBA champion Moore lost her spot in the 2020 (2021) Tokyo Olympics.
- In July, Irons was successfully freed to significant fanfare from the Black and sports communities. On September 16th, Moore and Irons announced they had wed.
- Moore is continuing her work to reform the justice system through her organization Win With Justice.
Black Women Rally to Protect Ilhan Omar and Muslims in D.C.
- With the number of Black women in Congress steadily increasing, one Black woman in particular has been the target of a significant amount of bigotry due to her Somali heritage and Muslim religion: Ilhan Omar.
- The resentment of the current federal administration and political and media pundits with similar values has led to numerous death threats being issued against Omar and a rise in Islamophobia across the country.
- 68 percent of Black Muslim women in the United States experienced religious-based bigotry in 2019.
- On April 30, 2019, more than 100 Black women activists held an event in Washington, D.C. to show support for Representative Omar and stand against Islamophobia.
- As an immigrant, Omar has been particularly targeted. However, the Black women activist community has embraced her as one of their own and made a point of visibly standing up on her behalf to prevent her voice from being silenced. In doing so, they made a stand for all Muslims in the United States.
- Regarded as the most powerful woman in music, Beyonce shared her troubled 2017 twin-pregnancy with the world in her 2019 Netflix documentary, Homecoming. The intimate portrayal showcased Beyonce’s strength and her capability as an ambitious Black woman in returning to the stage after a rigorous post-pregnancy training schedule.
- Beyonce proceeded to shock the world and thrill her fans (many of whom are Black) with her stunning Disney+ feature Black is King, released in 2020 amid the Black Lives Matter protests. The special answered previous complaints from some fans and showcased Black pride.
- As @QueenJay2017 puts it: “Y’all said she was only showing Africans in huts. She gave y’all mansions! Y’all said the film wouldn’t show in Africa. She released the film on a Major African Network for Free! Y’all said she was only showing Old Africa. She gave y’all Africa through Generations! #BlackIsKing”